An unofficial remake of The Champ, The Clown concerns Dodo Delwyn (Red Skelton), a down-and-out performer with abundant and obvious talent, but also a self-destructive tendency to overindulge his drinking and gambling habits. Once a Ziegfeld headliner, Dodo is now lucky to get jobs playing a clown at cheap amusement parks and even cheaper burlesque. Dodo's addictions cost him his marriage, but he somehow is able to maintain custody of his son Dink (Tim Considine), whose love for and faith in his father knows no bounds. Dink and Dodo's desperate need for each other is threatened when Dink's mother -- married again and capable of providing him with a better life -- reappears and explains that she wants to take care of the boy herself. Dink goes behind his father's back to locate his old agent, and begs him to help Dodo; but the agent cannot do anything. Dink goes away with his mother, but is miserable and runs back to his father. The agent, meanwhile, has managed to wrangle a TV show for Dodo -- and now that his son is back and needs him, Dodo resolves to find the courage to take up this offer and make a success of it.